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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Naomi Osaka’s Long Slump Overshadows Past Glory

Osaka’s career appears to be at a crossroads. To play consistent, winning tennis again, she would benefit from a revamped leadership team.



Naomi Osaka hits a return to Danielle Collins in the first round of the 2022 US Open on August 30 in New York. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Naomi Osaka’s bio page on the WTA Tour website provides a quick snapshot of a glaring problem she hasn’t fixed this year. Scroll down to the MORE ON OSAKA section, which begins this way: “Currently without a full-time coach.”

Clearly, based on her results this season, Osaka needs a full-time coach. 

She needs an expert’s daily advice, a tennis sage with a proven track record of maximizing players’ talents for decades. A fearless mentor who isn’t afraid to criticize her for her on-court mistakes, someone to push her to practice more efficiently and perform more consistently.

Since parting ways with former coach Wim Fissette, a decision that was announced in July, her father, Leonard Francois, has instructed her on a part-time basis.

Francois served as Osaka’s first coach when she was a kid. Their familial bond is important, but this observer believes it’s not a cure for Osaka’s ailing tennis.

Indeed, injuries have had an impact on performance, and she’s been hampered by an Achilles injury and a lower back ailment this year. 

Read the full story, here, on JAPAN Forward's dedicated sports website, SportsLook.

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven, and find him on JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website, SportsLook.

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